Joseph Stiglitz Calls Out Corporate Tax Dodgers – Here Are 10 of Them

Search form

Joseph Stiglitz Calls Out Corporate Tax Dodgers – Here Are 10 of Them

Joseph Stiglitz Calls Out Corporate Tax Dodgers – Here Are 10 of Them
Wed, 6/18/2014
This article originally appeared on BillMoyers.com

In this recent report for the Roosevelt Institute, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz suggests that paying our fair share of taxes and cracking down on corporate tax dodgers could be a cure for inequality and a faltering economy.

In the above video, Stiglitz tells Bill Moyers that Apple, Google, GE and a host of other Fortune 500 companies are creating what amounts to “an unlimited IRA for corporations.” The result? Vast amounts of lost revenue for our treasury and the exporting of much-needed jobs to other countries.

“I think we can use our tax system to create a better society, to be an expression of our true values,” Stiglitz says. “But if people don’t think that their tax system is fair, they’re not going to want to contribute. It’s going to be difficult to get them to pay. And, unfortunately, right now, our tax system is neither fair nor efficient.”

Stiglitz continues, “We have a tax system that reflects not the interest of the middle. We have a tax system that reflects the interest of the one percent… What I want to do is create a tax system that has incentives to create jobs. And if you tell a corporation, ‘Look, if you don’t create jobs, you’re taking out of our system, you’re not putting anything back, you’re going to pay a high tax. But if you put back into our system by investing, then you can get your tax rate down.’ That seems to me common sense, particularly in a time like today, when 20 million Americans need a full-time job and can’t get one.”

This recent report by Americans for Tax Fairness suggests that corporate taxes are near a 60-year low — and that’s partially because corporations have become adept at not paying their share.

Here’s a list of 10 tax-dodging corporations excerpted from the Americans for Tax Fairness report:

Bank of America runs its business through more than 300 offshore tax-haven subsidiaries. It reported $17.2 billion in accumulated offshore profits in 2012. It would owe $4.3 billion in U.S. taxes if these funds were brought back to the U.S.

Citigroup had $42.6 billion in foreign profits parked offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes. It reported that it would owe $11.5 billion if it brings these funds back to the U.S. A significant chunk is being held in tax-haven countries.

ExxonMobil had a three-year federal income tax rate of just 15 percent. This gave the company a tax subsidy worth $6.2 billion from 2010-2012. It had $43 billion in offshore profits at the end of 2012, on which it paid no U.S. taxes.

FedEx made $6 billion over the last three years and didn’t pay a dime in federal income taxes, in part because the tax code subsidized its purchase of new planes. This gave FedEx a huge tax subsidy worth $2.1 billion.

General Electric received a tax subsidy of nearly $29 billion over the last 11 years. While dodging paying its fair share of federal income taxes, GE pocketed $21.8 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.

Honeywell had profits of $5 billion from 2009 to 2012. Yet it paid only $50 million in federal income taxes for the period. Its tax rate was just 1 percent over the last four years. This gave it a huge tax subsidy worth $1.7 billion.

Merck had profits of $13.6 billion and paid $2.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2012. While dodging its fair share of federal income taxes, it pocketed $8.7 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts from Uncle Sam between 2006 and 2012.

Microsoft saved $4.5 billion in federal income taxes from 2009 to 2011 by transferring profits to a subsidiary in the tax haven of Puerto Rico. It had $60.8 billion in profits stashed offshore in 2012 on which it paid no U.S. taxes.

Pfizer paid no U.S. income taxes from 2010 to 2012 while earning $43 billion worldwide. It did this in part by performing accounting acrobatics to shift its U.S. profits offshore. It received $2.2 billion in federal tax refunds.

Verizon made $19.3 billion in U.S. pretax profits from 2008 to 2012, yet didn’t pay any federal income taxes during the period. Instead, it got $535 million in tax rebates. Verizon’s effective federal income tax rate was negative 2.8 percent from 2008 to 2012.

Originally published by BillMoyers.com

Article Tabs

Sacramento is playing host to the Occupy National Gathering just after 99Rise's state-long march ended there to protest the influence of big money in politics.

Companies that invert get all the benefits of operating in the U.S. – including purchases financed by taxpayers, while not supporting the government whose services, laws and workforce enable their profits.

America's foundations and wealthiest donors give only a small proportion of their total donations to local and grassroots organizations – furthering the divide between elite institutions and everybody else.

Former CEO Artie T. offered good benefits and fair pay – which is why employees are striking and customers are boycotting the market chain across the northeast, demanding to get him back.

The Coalition for Court Transparency, which advocates greater openness and accountability in judicial branch, launched a campaign to install TV cameras in the chambers of the Supreme Court.

From the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to the Trade In Services Agreement, massive trade deals are being advanced in coordination with a militarized police state.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

A few days after thousands marched on downtown Detroit last weekend, the city suspended mass water shutoffs for 15 days – leaving more than 15,000 households already disconnected.

Posted 6 days 50 min ago

The British Medical Association joins a growing movement of institutions – including dozens of universities, foundations and even the World Council of Churches – dumping oil, coal and gas holdings.

Posted 2 days 18 hours ago

With 400,000 members and 85,000 retirees, SEIU 1199 is among the biggest unions to sign up so far for the People's Climate March in New York in September.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

Stingrays and other cell surveillance tools have been used in the U.S. for years without the knowledge of the public or even defense attorneys and judges.

Posted 6 days 58 min ago
In Indiana, Regulator Helps ALEC Coal Companies Delay EPA Climate Rules

Leaked documents reveal how Big Coal, ALEC and an Indiana environmental regulator pushed to delay EPA rules to control greenhouse gas emissions and hazardous air pollution.

Ever since I chained myself to the White House fence with 47 other protestors urging President Obama to kill the Keystone pipeline, people have asked me why I felt so strongly about the issue.

The Romney-Koch Handshake: Network TV Censors Revealing Moment

When Mitt Romney walked down the aisle toward the stage at the Republican National Convention, among the people whose hands he shook was the conservative billionaire and major political donor David Koch. But it was a moment missed by the tens of millions of viewers at home.

About 75% of all Americans are living from paycheck to paycheck. And it gets worse from there.

In what's being dubbed the biggest document leak since Wikileaks, a cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.

Sign Up